Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
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**Insight City Guides


Reviewed April 6, 2002.
APA Publications, 1989.  317 pages.  Available at Sembach Library (914.5 VEN).

I love the idea of Insight Guides.  They are intended to give more in-depth information about a city or country.  They have lots of pictures and provide in-depth history and background of a place.

The idea is wonderful, but in practice the reading is dry and hard to get through.  I wouldn’t recommend buying these guides, but if you can find them at a library (Ours has several.), they are worth reading to get background on a place before you visit.

I don’t have any inclination to take this with me to Venice, as it’s on the heavy side, but I do feel that now I know a bit more about Venice’s history and some things to look for.  (Though the facts I learned when reading Vendela in Venice are much more vivid in my mind!)

I think one weakness of these books is that they try to be both a travel guide and give an in-depth story of a place.  They have some descriptions of walks you can take, but the description is too lengthy--You wouldn’t be able to read this while you were walking.  Those descriptions don’t make great reading before you go, as the places mentioned are not in front of you.  I think that these would be stronger books if the authors took the approach that these are books you will read before you go, and focused on big, general ideas and highlights to look for.  Still, it fills a nice niche by giving more history and, indeed, insight than most travel guides do.  Good reading before you begin a trip.  Venice, here we come!

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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